Managing Headache Pain With Acupuncture

Will acupuncture cure headaches? Is there scientific proof it works?

Acupuncture does not completely eliminate or cure headaches.  It does reduce frequency and severity of headache pain. Clinical results and scientific studies show efficacy for sinus, tension and migraine headaches.  A recent study reported in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture Room | Nightingale CenterMedicine1 compared pharmacological treatment versus acupuncture treatment for migraine without aura and found acupuncture was more effective than drug therapy at reducing total migraine symptoms at follow-ups six and twelve months after initial treatment.  There were no side effects reported for the acupuncture group.

Is acupuncture safe? Is it painful?

Acupuncture is safe when performed by a licensed acupuncturist.  California licenses acupuncturists and mandates that needles be sterile.  Most acupuncturists choose single-use disposable sterile needles.  Acupuncture is comfortable and relaxing when performed by an experienced practitioner.  The needles are very fine, not hollow like hypodermic needles.  You may feel nothing when a needle is inserted, or you may feel a mild sting at insertion that passes instantly.  Most people relax deeply during treatment, and many fall asleep!

How often are treatments scheduled?  How soon will I see results?

Per Chinese medical theory, acupuncture restores balance in the body to reduce episodes of pain and dysfunction.  Initially, it is important to treat more frequently so that your body holds the changes between each treatment.  Typically, you will need to be treated twice a week for several weeks.  As your headaches lessen, the treatment interval is extended.  In general, migraine headaches require a longer course of treatment.  Tension and sinus headache sufferers usually see results in the first four weeks.  Migraine sufferers may not see results for six to eight weeks, with maximum improvement taking several months.

Will I still be able to take my prescribed medications?

Acupuncture treatment focuses on preventing headaches, not stopping them once they have started.  You may continue to take the medications your physician has prescribed to relieve headache pain.  Your acupuncturist may also prescribe Chinese herbal medicine as part of your treatment plan.  Integrating Eastern and Western medicine will help you manage headache pain most effectively.

For more information or to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation, call

T.J. Lee, Licensed Acupuncturist       

16960 East Bastanchury Road, Suite J

Yorba Linda, California 92886